I believe many people would react differently than they did when Miley Cyrus performed on the video music awards last night. But the thing that is interesting to me, is this: even if we want to treat the two cases the same, we are not really equipped by language to do so.
When it comes to most descriptors, language has come to assign the default to male. In English, words like hero, actor, even men (as in “all men are created equal”) might refer to women. In French, a crowd of all women gets the feminine pronoun, elle. A crowd of one million people, even if only one is male, gets the masculine pronoun: il. The exception to this is that phrases that imply judgement based on promiscuity are more naturally applied to women.
Consider the word slut. The natural connotation is a woman. I realize that somebody might claim that this is a problem only in my mind, and it reviels a sexist bias in my own thinking, not in language in general. The problem with this claim is the existence of the word man-slut. It has useage, at least jokingly. It is apparently necessary to define when the term is used for a man. Notice that we don’t use the word woman-slut, or girl-slut, or chick-slut. There would be a redundancy in any of these. Our base assumption is that a slut is a woman; no need to spell that out.
The same argument exists for the word whore. We use the word man-whore, sometimes. But not woman-whore.
The words we have to referring to sexually promiscuous men are few and far between. And they carry a congratulatory air; David Lee Roth famously covered “I’m just a jiggalo” with a proud swagger. The word player/playa reduces sex to a game and a male who frequently engages in sex is somebody who simply figured out the rules.
The solution to all this is not bringing women down to men’s level. It is not o.k. for Miley, Madonna, or Lady Gaga to turn their sexuality into a commodity. (The later 2, I think, have some sort-of sense of irony about the whole thing. Perhaps this redeems it some; I am not sure.) Our reaction to those who would sell themselves so cheaply ought to be the same, whether they are male or female. We ought to reach out with a sense of sadness about their decision, we ought to react with Christ’s love and Christ’s righteousness in equal measure.